OF YOUR LIFE
WORDS FROM THE WISE
AARP’s online community is a kind of “wisdom circle”
that draws on the shared experiences of AARP members.
This column is adapted from an online discussion.
Wife Tried to
Should he tell her husband what
she did—or keep it secret?
Dear Wisdom Circle,
I’ve been good friends for 11 years with a couple who
live in my condo complex. I’ve looked after their
home while they vacationed, and they’ve done the
same for me. I’ve also played golf and tennis with
the husband, Ted*, many times. Recently his wife,
Carol, asked me to come over because their garbage
disposal wasn’t working and Ted was out of town.
It was an easy fix, and she thanked me. As I started
to leave, she asked me why I had never made a pass
at her. “Because you’re married,” I said. “Married,
yes,” she replied, “but not dead.” Then she let her
robe fall open. Shocked, I told her that wasn’t right
and hightailed it out of there. I haven’t spoken to
her since. But should I tell her husband? Or pretend
it never happened? —Freaked-Out Friend
RESPONSE #1 I think this is a lose-lose situation for everyone except the
wife, who wants to use you to stroke
her ego. I say do nothing: Don’t play her
game. Don’t tell her husband. Avoid their
company. If he eventually asks you why,
then tell him. You’ll probably lose a friend,
but you’ll keep your self-respect.
is that once people try something like
this, they’ll try again until you confront
them or you tell their spouse. I’d tell the
husband. I don’t think she’s finished with
you yet, so good luck.
RESPONSE #2 I’ve experienced similar situations before. One thing I learned
RESPONSE #3 I wouldn’t mention it
to the husband, but I’d avoid being alone
with the wife. A sad situation, especially
since you’ll never feel comfortable with
either one of them again.
I didn’t tell Ted. In fact, I recently
played golf with him. We met at
the course instead of his home and
had a good time. I didn’t mention
Carol at all. For now, I’m sticking
with the do-nothing option. But
I’ll keep the spill-the-beans option
in my back pocket in case I ever
need to protect the innocent—
Adapted by Karen Westerberg Reyes
ILLUS TRATION B Y CHRIS GASH
HOW TO JOIN
To ask your own question, or to answer someone else’s, visit aarp.org/wisdomcircle.